Thursday, November 20, 2014

Knife Blade Steel

I’m slowly turning into a knife guy. I’ve always loved good knives but could not see spending so much for a good quality knife. I’m changing my mind and my collection is growing. This is what I’ve learned about knife blade steels. When choosing quality knives the kind of steel is always a consideration. Most people just pick something they like until they have to use the knife a lot. Then they find out what works best for the job they have.
The making of stainless steel begins by melting steel in a furnace. Alloying elements are added to the melt, and the molten steel is poured into molds called ingots. Once the ingots have solidified, they are processed in a mill to make usable shapes and sizes (plates, coils, etc.). Buck Knives uses plates and coils, depending on the type of steel and its thickness. Plates are turned into knife components by laser cutting and coils are shaped into components using a fine blanking press.
Properties of Steel
The selection of steel for specific applications is based on the properties of the steel and other factors like manufacturability—if the steel is difficult to fabricate, then it is not practical for use in a manufacturing environment. These properties are established by the alloys added to steel and by the methods used in its manufacture. Some of the important properties of blade steel are:
Hardness : A measure of the steel's ability to resist permanent deformation (measured on a Rockwell Scale)
Hardenability : The ability of a steel to be hardened (through the heat-treating process)
Strength : The steel’s ability to resist applied forces
Ductility : The steel's ability to flex or bend without fracturing
Toughness : The steel’s ability to absorb energy prior to fracturing
Initial Sharpness : The sharpness of the blade "out of the box"
Edge Retention : The ability of the steel blade to hold an edge without frequent resharpening
Corrosion Resistance: The ability of the steel to resist deterioration as a result of reaction with its environment
Wear Resistance: The ability to resist wear and abrasion during use
Manufacturability : The ease with which steel can be machined, blanked, ground, and heat-treated (made into a blade)
Stainless Steel
Advantages Disadvantages
Easier to sharpen Dulls quickly
Resistant to rust Susceptible to staining
Ideal for survival situations Not as sharp as other materials
Better in wet conditions
Carbon Steel
Advantages Disadvantages
Holds an edge longer More difficult to sharpen
Harder than stainless steel Susceptible to rust
More durable in abusive situations Highly susceptible to staining
Well suited for hunting

I hope this bit of information helps you in your search for the right knife.

Semper Paratus